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Exploring the argument for opening an impeachment inquiry

President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Leah Millis
President Donald Trump speaking about the investigations into himself and his administration by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Congressional Democrats in the Rose Garden on Wednesday.

Anyone who actually thinks Donald Trump was completely and totally exonerated by the Mueller investigation (which specifically states “not exonerated’ on obstruction of justice) simply doesn’t want to know the truth or can’t handle the truth. That’s their business, I guess.

(And, by the way, the argument that it’s impossible to commit obstruction of justice if there is no underlying crime is rubbish. There were underlying crimes, which is why several Trump associates and former campaign and administration officials are serving time. But even if that weren’t the case, Richard Nixon, when he resigned, was about to be impeached for obstruction of justice.)

Personally, I do want to know the truth, including the truths that the current incumbent wants to keep us from knowing by refusing to comply with subpoenas for his financial records and requests for so many of his appointees to appear before congressional committees. And Trump’s stonewalling adds an important legal argument for the House to open impeachment hearings.

So far, I’ve been ambivalent about the impeachment question, in part because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not wanted to go there and I consider her a smart tactician/strategist who probably doesn’t see the point of the House impeaching when there is roughly zero chance of getting a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict and remove Trump. But recently, her position on impeachment has evolved, and perhaps this is why.


There’s a powerful argument for opening an impeachment inquiry, to which I (and perhaps Speaker Pelosi) give some weight. Herewith:

Part of the current excuse being used by the administration to deny cooperation with any further congressional inquiry into potential crimes and misdemeanors is that Congress lacks a valid “legislative purpose” for the witnesses and materials it seeks or the witnesses it would like to question.

This claim is obnoxious and insincere, but at this point words like that have little impact. Congress certainly has played a traditional “oversight” role over the executive branch, which might take care of that objection.

But, sadly, I must tell you that as far as I can discern there is really nothing in the Constitution that explicitly establishes that “oversight” role. It has long been described as an “implied power,” but I guess the specifics of such implications are in the eye of the beholder. Sad but true, and who knows how important that might be in a fight over next steps to ascertain Trump’s guilt or innocence?

But the Constitution does clearly assign the U.S. House the power to impeach the president for “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Treason and bribery are fairly clear, and there is a least room for discussion of either or both in the Trump context. A scheme to pay hush money to cover up adultery by a candidate for president, for example, could easily be described as bribery. And we already have sworn congressional testimony from Michael Cohen on that score.

But high crimes and misdemeanors are pretty much whatever the House decides they are. So opening an impeachment inquiry would pretty much settle the question of whether Congress had a valid constitutional reason to investigate possible crimes and misdemeanors involving the president.

On the slight chance that Trump gives a rip about the Constitution, it would be interesting to see what excuses he might have to contrive to refuse turning over documents or allowing members of his administration to testify if the House were acting under its explicitly constitutional power to impeach.

In fact, it could be argued that refusing to cooperate is itself an impeachable offense. And, at the moment, Trump is saying loudly that any evidence that the House is interested in pursuing investigations of him or, gasp, the first stages of the impeachment process, might inspire him to new levels of acts of impeachable offenses.

Or is it possible that Donald Trump just doesn’t want the American people to know the truth, perhaps because, as Jack Nicholson’s character put it forcefully in this famous scene from “A Few Good Men,” we “can’t handle the truth.” The scene is from a Marine court martial about an alleged cover-up.


(By the way, I’m completely stealing much of the argument above from this excellent Lawfare article by Molly Reynolds and Margaret L. Taylor of Brookings.) But they didn’t include the movie clip.

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Comments (45)

  1. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/23/2019 - 10:57 am.

    I believe Trump won the election not because of Putin or Russia, but because Democrats effectively ceased to govern, or to stand up in defense of working Americans, from the predations of Banks, Corporations, Billionaires, the total surveillance state, or the increasingly privatized, increasingly unaccountable military. In fact they seem to have embraced all of the economic predators mentioned above.

    If Dems could articulate some economic vision that would benefit most people, rather than make ever more people ever more insecure, they would roll over Trump. But their embrace of all things corporatist, high finance and globalist simply makes ever more people feel ever more economically hopeless, leaving politics wide open for Republicans generally.

    Beating the impeachment drums after the collapse of Russiagate looks to most people like the Democratic Party failing to learn from their mistakes and ceasing to govern. It looks petty and small. Which is not how you win elections.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/23/2019 - 12:18 pm.

      Sounds like the Republican party line:
      an excuse for ignoring the facts of the case.

      • Submitted by Colin Brownlow on 05/23/2019 - 03:12 pm.

        Paul – what Mr. Duncan states though is true. If Democrats as the putative party of progressives could actually articulate a clear economic vision that benefited working people they would clearly have won the Presidency in 2016. The Republicans are great at that – wrong in their policies – but great at articulating them in a simple way that resonates with a big chunk of the electorate.

        Trump may be thoroughly odious and unfit to be President, but until Democrats focus on a simple clear message that resonates with voters they risk giving Trump another term.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/23/2019 - 03:41 pm.

          No, its complete nonsense. Especially the part about “[b]eating the impeachment drums after the collapse of Russiagate.”

          • Submitted by David Lundeen on 05/23/2019 - 06:15 pm.

            Rural america turned away along time ago in favor of abortion and guns. They share plenty of blame as well. If anyone takes the time to read anything, democrats do have a pretty clear economic vision, and it’s quite centrist and favorable to private and corporate power. This argument does not work, take the time to research your candidates and you’ll learn plenty.

            • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/24/2019 - 11:16 am.

              Right, David –

              Dem “Centrist” (with a capital C) economic policy is quite favorable to corporate power and monopoly power in the individual or institution, unfavorable to working people and regular citizens generally, and small business. Which leaves a lot of people feeling dis-empowered, which leads many to check out, or into the fold of a Republican Party that will at least pay lip-service to personal and economic freedom, even if they mostly serve the same masters.

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/24/2019 - 08:45 am.

            Pat,

            Your responses to my statements are always so absolute, categorical. But “complete nonsense” is not a real response, nor argument, nor dialogue.

            And I stand by the statement, Democrats in Congress and their colluding media, after two years of telling us that Trump was guilty, guilty, guilty of colluding with Putin, have now changed their tune to, guilty, guilty, guilty of financial crimes.

            Maybe he is guilty of financial crimes. But if we spend another year and a half hearing ad nauseam that he is guilty, guilty, guilty, and the evidence turns out to be mostly Dem wishful thinking/propaganda, Republicans are going to own all of Congress again in 2020.

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/26/2019 - 08:41 pm.

              Few people said that he personally actively colluded with Putin.
              More a question of him benefiting personally from illegal Russian activities. It is not clear that he personally knew the details (he doesn’t know a lot of things) but it appears that his close associates were involved.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/23/2019 - 06:57 pm.

          Unfortunately, that may be true.
          To quote Mencken:
          “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem–neat, plausible, and wrong.”

    • Submitted by John Evans on 05/23/2019 - 04:07 pm.

      The impeachment process is not supposed to be an electoral tactic; it is there to ensure accountability for the president and other officials, to make sure that they can’t break the law with impunity.

      Clinton was impeached and acquitted on two charges: He was alleged to have lied in his deposition in a sexual harassment suit while he was governor of Arkansas. As president, he was alleged to have obstructed justice by trying to cover up a completely legal, consensual dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.

      Neither charge was very pertinent to how a president would execute the duties of his or her office, so there was no pressing need for the House to pursue impeachment, apart from the Republicans’ desire for prurient political theater. Hence the public’s distaste for the procedure, and the feeling that it’s just a way to harass the head of state.

      Trump’s case is entirely different. He is well-known to have engaged in more than $10 Billion in odd transactions with the money-laundering Deutsche Bank, and several very unusual, large and secretive deals with shady Russian oligarchs.

      In the White House, Trump has thrown our government’s long established set of policies toward Russia in the trash for no explicable reason, and really appears to favor the interests of the Putin regime. Don’t you think the House has a constitutional duty to investigate these and other matters?

      • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 05/24/2019 - 08:10 am.

        And you have proof where?

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/24/2019 - 08:34 am.

        John,

        With due respect, your statements about Trump’s financial dealings seem to reflect much of the language about Russiagate, i.e. we spent two years hearing from neoliberal corporate media and Dems and Liberals generally, that the only reason Trump won was because Putin and Russia gamed the system, that he was absolutely and unequivocally guilty of colluding with Russia – guilty without evidence. Two years of Mueller searching, and that is obviously not so absolute and unequivocal.

        Trump is crass and sleazy, but should we spend the next year and a half hearing from the same people who sold us Russiagate, that he is absolutely and unequivocally guilty of epic financial crimes – only to find out on the eve of election that all that energy was as concocted as Russiagate, Republicans will roll…

        As for Trump admiring Putin – Russia is the crown-jewel in neoliberal/neoconservative regime change doctrine. I would rather we get along with Russia, than go to war against them. I no longer support the Dem party in large part because they seemed so eager to antagonize Russia, instigating fear and loathing, embracing the Deep State and “Intelligence” community, the war machine, merely to spite Trump.

    • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 05/24/2019 - 04:29 am.

      Agree. The Pelosi, Schumer, corporatist wing of the Democratic Party is as beholden to corporate donors as Republicans, which is why many working class people abandoned the party in the last election.

    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/24/2019 - 08:54 am.

      To Pat and Paul, your statements on this thread are reminiscent of the Hillary campaign and the aftermath, i.e. Hillary is going to win because she deserves it; she could only have lost because of malfeasance against her.

      Such intransigence among Democrats is why Republicans control most governorships and legislatures in the various states, and why they have a lock on the US Senate.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/25/2019 - 10:44 am.

        And of course voter suppression and gerrymandering have nothing to do with it.
        And it only takes a minority of voting citizens to control the Senate.
        So this says more about our political system than it does about the will of the voting public.

    • Submitted by Richard Steuland on 05/24/2019 - 12:57 pm.

      Both parties work for the Oligarchy. The Democrats are more subtle. It was the Clintons that recast the Democrats into neoliberals. In other words , Republican Lite. Without campaign finance reform it pay to play . Even President Obama shamelessly pushed the TPP until the last days of his term. Then you have Pelosi telling the progressive wing to tone down their agenda. Many don’t realize the slight of hand and don’t engage enough to protect their interests.

  2. Submitted by Misty Martin on 05/23/2019 - 11:18 am.

    Eric:

    I, too, want to KNOW the TRUTH!!! I do not believe we will find one shred of truth in anything that the current occupant of the Oval Office says – and I, like Speaker Pelosi also pray for the president and pray for our country. Our Bible tells us to pray for those in authority – BUT I will NOT have the wool pulled over my eyes as Trump’s supporters obviously seem to have had, and continue to have, from what I read, see and hear.

  3. Submitted by Richard Lentz on 05/23/2019 - 11:35 am.

    I agree with the previous comment. Democrats win with an effective and inspiring message that addresses real concerns and issues. That, however, must occur alongside actions that protect democracy.

    It is important to know the truth about all the current issues that Congress wishes to investigate. Investigating for the purpose of impeachment likely overcomes any valid argument for stonewalling.

    On PBS, a member of the judiciary committee distinguished between impeachment inquiry and impeachment itself, and said the public conflates the two. The former aims to overcome the constitutional phony defense that Trump mounts, hopefully without enhancing the argument that Democrats are wasting time and effort. Not sure the public would make that distinction and the media so far has not. I would be interested in Eric’s views on that issue. How else can the Congress do it’s job to the expose Trump’s possible venality and other possible problems?

  4. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/23/2019 - 11:35 am.

    What the constitution says is that Congress has legislative power. It doesn’t seem to envision a role for the legislature branch out of the context of legislation. While this might suggest that oversight which isn’t connected to legislation isn’t a congressional power, this is a politically unsustainable position because Congress can always propose a law that would give any oversight it wants to engage in an appropriate constitutional context. I actually don’t think this is a bad idea since I get awfully tired of Congress people showing off when it’s clear that they are doing nothing to actually improve anything.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/23/2019 - 12:18 pm.

      But federal judges, who know the law, are not buying Trump’s lawyers’ assertions of what the First Article branch of government–the Congress–has within its purview. Those judges are beginning to rule against him, one by one after the other, and the beat will go on! And, they seem to be pretty expeditious about it, knowing that Trumps lawsuits are simply meant to delay legal action, not win any Constitutional argument.

      Congress has a pretty solid history of doing investigations that are not impeachment hearings, so practice has confirmed that Congress can look into whatever it wants to look into, without the head of the Second Article’s branch–the executive–trying to curtail its authority.

      We should keep talking about opening an impeachment inquiry. Congress (unlike Trump himself) can do two or three or four things at once, so an impeachment inquiry will not impede its legiasative work.

      None of that legislative work by the House of Representatives will be allowed to be considered by the Senate anyway, Mitch McConnell having sworn to stop any Democratic House bills from becoming law. So, what’s the problem with opening an impeachment inquiry?

      Everyone who has read the full Mueller report knows that Donald Trump has already committed a series of clear acts of obstruction, and–as we are learning from judges who are demanding publication of the redacted parts of Mueler’s report–there’s more there (especially in Volume I, about Trump’s multiple contacts with and eager reception of Russians’ help.

      The American people have not read the Mueller report. They will, though, start to pay attention to the opening of formal impeachment hearings. We need that.

  5. Submitted by Kent Fralish on 05/23/2019 - 11:48 am.

    “The House Democratic caucus is not on the path to impeachment”. Straight from the mouth of “a smart tactician/strategist”.

  6. Submitted by Barbara Boldenow on 05/23/2019 - 11:53 am.

    Sadly, I think you are correct. The corporate media covers for them. I have several friends who still lament the election of Trump and praise Obama for being so well spoken, decent and free of scandal. I think that low information voters will cause the death of our once great country.

  7. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 05/23/2019 - 12:05 pm.

    First line of article:

    “Anyone who actually thinks Donald Trump was completely and totally exonerated by the Mueller investigation …simply doesn’t want to know the truth or can’t handle the truth.”

    First comment on article:

    “Beating the impeachment drums after the collapse of Russiagate”

    I wonder where the commenter falls on Eric’s scale. Really though, we’ll never understand the willful ignorance of the Donald supporter.

    My real reason for commenting is this: “I’ve been ambivalent about the impeachment question, in part because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not wanted to go there and I consider her a smart tactician/strategist”

    I hear this kind of thing all the time and I am at a loss as to what metrics are being use to calculate Pelosi’s tactical or strategic brilliance. While things might be looking up with a few court rulings to their advantage, remember no documents have been turned over. For the last few month, or more, Democrats have been looking pretty impotent. Waiting for the Mueller report to come out rather than going after Donald on what we already saw as if not illegal behavior, at least unethical, was a mistake. Failing to anticipate Barr’s initial framing of the report and not countering it effectively was a mistake, waiting again for Mueller to testify and assuming that his testimony will be in their favor is a mistake.

    What I have concluded about Nancy’s tactics and strategies is that its all internal. She may be brilliant at wrangling her own members, but she doesn’t appear to have a really strategy for dealing with a Lawless President. Until recently it appeared that her strategy was to keep her head down and hope that the elections saved her from having to do anything uncomfortable, but now she’s getting pushed by her own party, while that’s something she can deal with, she may deal with it in a way that antagonizes voters and that could effect turn out in 2020. Failing to use the power that voters handed her in 2018 may be her biggest mistake yet. Hold Donald accountable or step aside and let someone who will lead.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/23/2019 - 01:14 pm.

      Her strength is indeed wrangling her own members, which is much harder than people think. The Democrats won back congress by electing moderates in swing districts, but all the attention goes to the firebrands in safe Democratic seats.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/23/2019 - 01:50 pm.

      The problem with the impeachment process is that right now it’s symbolic, and is likely to remain so.
      The House may vote to impeach, but to convict requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate, which is not likely to happen before 2020 (or after then).
      If Trump’s cognitive degeneration continues, Article 25 becomes a more likely way to separate him from the White House.

      • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 05/23/2019 - 02:38 pm.

        I’m fine with symbolic, symbolic swings voters. Democrats too often get caught up in what can and can not be done and ignore the optics of a situation. Nancy Pelosi is telling us that Donald is doing impeachable things but she doesn’t want to impeach him. She sees a crime and doesn’t do everything in her power to stop it? How does that look?

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/23/2019 - 03:44 pm.

          And in the case it will swing voters right to Trump and the Republicans. Trump is daring the Democrats to impeach. Pelosi is keeping the threat out there without falling into the trap. If the impeachment case becomes more bipartisan, then it will be time.

          • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 05/23/2019 - 05:55 pm.

            There is absolutely zero evidence to support your hypothesis. None. If we look to two impeachments that have happened in my life time, first was Richard Nixon. He had just won reelection and had a 65% approval rating when impeachment hearings started. As people watched the hearings and learned the seriouslness of his crimes his approval dropped precipitously. We know that the crimes committed by Donald are far far worse than those committed by Nixon.

            With Clinton his approval rating actually went up as the bogus charges against him became more clear. I was not a fan, but you had to support him when you saw the weakness of the Republican charges.
            I think the evidence points to Donald maybe not losing ground, his supporters a fanatical, but not gaining ground either. In the end his crimes will be clear to the public and it Republicans in the senate don’t convict him, they will be on record as supporting those crimes.

            The party line that says Trump is goading us into impeachment is just an excuse. Its ridiculous really.

          • Submitted by David Lundeen on 05/24/2019 - 07:09 am.

            You overestimate how loyal significant swaths of the country are to a fraud and con artist.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/25/2019 - 10:47 am.

            And since impeachment right now would be symbolic only, a vote of censure would serve the same purpose.

  8. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/23/2019 - 01:10 pm.

    I’m still undecided about an impeachment inquiry. Opening an inquiry would shine a light on the inner workings of the sleaziest presidency since the Secret Service had to keep Nan Harding away from the telephone closet. In that sense, it would be welcome.

    On the other hand, Trump can still count on the unthinking/unwavering loyalty of his base. An impeachment inquiry would surely light a fire under them, and motivate them even more. Never mind what might be revealed, they will rise to the defense of their hero, no matter what. That’s why I think Trump would welcome impeachment.

    • Submitted by Roy Everson on 05/24/2019 - 04:59 am.

      Eventually fear of firing up the base must cease being grounds not to do the right thing. The base is a distinct minority, far from a majority. A few months ago proceeding with impeachment may have looked overly partisan. But the president is clearly goading the Democrats into the process believing the Senate will save him, and he may be correct — and upping the ante by flagrant examples of stonewalling providing ample grounds. Those of us who believe in our democracy must at some point have faith that voters will ultimately stand behind politicians who do their jobs according to due process.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/24/2019 - 11:43 am.

        “Those of us who believe in our democracy must at some point have faith that voters will ultimately stand behind politicians who do their jobs according to due process.”

        Take a look at the typical Trump supporter, and ask yourself if that faith is justified. They’re “sick and tired of all these investigations,” rule of law and the Constitution be damned, apparently.

  9. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/23/2019 - 06:23 pm.

    So Congressional oversight isn’t in the Constitution?

    Sort of like, ah, executive privilege then.

  10. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/23/2019 - 06:43 pm.

    A record must be had, before it disappears.

    What is wrong with an on-going investigation into the various aspects of Trump without it being an impeachment?

    The same investigation, but without the impeachment trial which will never happen.

    Get organized, investigate, report.

  11. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/23/2019 - 07:30 pm.

    Like RB Holbrook, I remain somewhat ambivalent about impeaching the nation’s oldest and most powerful child. I’m pretty certain that, at least in a political context, Nancy Pelosi is smarter than I am, and if she’s reluctant to start down that road, I’m inclined to defer to her caution. My own bias is that impeachment proceedings should already be well under way, but it there’s even a reasonable chance that beginning the process without a genuinely flagrant and iron-clad case might energize Trump’s ethically-blind base, I’d like to see the House tread cautiously. Not refuse to consider it, but wait until there’s no way the Current Occupant can escape – except of course, the nearly-certain acquittal in the Senate via a spineless majority directed by an equally ethically blind Kentuckian.

    I agree with Eric that there doesn’t seem (to me, at least) to be anything in the Constitution that mandates an “oversight” role for Congress regarding the executive. On the other hand, I don’t see anything in the Constitution that requires Congressional investigations to have “a clear legislative purpose.” Perhaps more to the point, at least when I read my copy, I don’t recall anything in the constitution suggesting that presidential elections result in the elevation of a candidate to a monarchial throne. We don’t (yet) elect kings. As a culture, we don’t believe in the “divine right to rule, and what I hear in snippets of conversation from time to time leads me to believe that there are many Americans who still believe the President is subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

    I would not be surprised – once again, disappointed, but not surprised – if, assuming an impeachment inquiry were begun by the House, Trump refused to cooperate with THAT, and directed his department heads, advisors, etc., not to testify. Such a course of action would inevitably lead to a confrontation in court, one that might require the SCOTUS to discover if its “conservative” members were, in fact, conservatives, and whether they actually had spines. We’ve already found out that the Attorney General is lacking one, or sold it to Donald Trump.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/25/2019 - 10:49 am.

      Trump is running out the clock.
      By the time the cases get to the Supreme Court the 2020 election will be over.

  12. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 05/23/2019 - 08:47 pm.

    I am sick and tired of all these investigations. What about actually doing something to solve problems and doing the day to day job of governing, like passing a budget.

    Everybody knows what kind of person Donald Trump is. You can investigate him all you want, but you aren’t going to find out anything new. If you don’t like Trump, you’ll have a chance to vote him out in two years.

    If the Democrats keep going down this path, they are going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/24/2019 - 03:43 pm.

      Apparently Mr. Schumann doesn’t know that the House of Representatives has been working right along, passing legislation on the issues that that huge majority of voters elected them to, last November!

      They’re on it. They can do two or three things at once. Glory be! Only problem is the Senate, where everything goes to die. Blame McConnell.

      And, if people are paying attention to Congress, they’ll realize that the various House committees are building up an impeachment case against Trump, without calling it impeachment. They’re investigating. Methodically. Forcing Trump into massive obstruction of justice moves along the way, to bolster the Mueller report’s evidence of multiple instances of obstruction (there are now about 1000 former federal prosecutors on record as saying that what’s in Vol. II of Mueller would convict to prison for obstruction any American citizen who isn’t the current president–that’s the only reason Mueller didn’t indict Trump). TYump is openly abusing his power, daily.

      And there’s a judge out there now who has demanded, and received, a full unredacted version of the Mueller report. Another judge who has ordered the publication of certain redactions by AG Barr of the Mueller report–he wants the public to see them!–and judges are ruling against Trump’s lawyers as they try to convince our judicial system that we can have a dictator under the Constitution. They claim no one can legally stop him from doing what he wants. The judges are disagreeing, and the legal commiunity is laughing at Trump’s lawyers for making the claims.

      And: The Trump cult is still and always only a minority of American voters. They are not America, just as Donald Trump is not America.
      .

  13. Submitted by Henry Johnson on 05/23/2019 - 10:13 pm.

    I think the 2020 election rests as it usually does on ‘swing’ voters, and I think Pelosi is wisely reasoning that it’s best to gather more damning evidence against the president before pushing for impeachment, to avoid generating sympathy for him from those voters.

    Having said that, if Trump continues the stonewalling for another few months, and the courts do not force their hand on cooperating with subpoena’s and document requests, I think they probably need to impeach, just because that will probably make it more difficult legally to continue stonewalling.

    And that’s the reason to do it – to gather more information about the misdeeds of this administration, for the use of the American public in the 2020 election.

    The senate, filled with submissive, cowed republicans terrified of Trump supporting a challenger in their next primary election if they do anything to displease him, is NEVER going to vote to impeach IMO, so there’s no real point in impeaching Trump in the house in a rush, other than to obtain stronger means of getting subpoenas honored and so on.

    BTW, I’m not at all pleased with Mueller, he gathered a lot of damning detailed evidence, but then refused to draw the obvious conclusions from all that damning evidence – namely that yes, there were multiple, blatant cases of obstruction, and there was definitely conspiracy as well (“collusion” has no legal meaning) between the Trump campaign and the Russians to sway the 2016 election.

    Trump Jr. fully admitted to holding meetings with the Russians to get dirt on Clinton, in fact he said “he’d love it”.

    That’s blatant conspiracy right there, publicly documented now (after being lied about repeatedly initially, which is more obstruction of justice by the way).

    How about Steve Bannon as VP of Cambridge analytica, which stole hundreds of millions of people’s facebook data, and then used a Russian expert in psychology to tailor ad campaign’s to sway voters to vote for Trump (including coming up with the famous “drain the swamp!” motto). That’s conspiracy.

    How about all the other fishy contacts, including Manafort who ran the campaign for pete’s sake, and who had been taking Russian money for a long time and who provided polling information to the Russians, who somehow seemed to know what congressional districts to point their internet Troll farm efforts at to sway votes.

    That’s conspiracy, and yes, ‘collusion’.

    Mueller sold the country down the river in my opinion but not just calling a spade a spade and instead being so afraid of his own shadow that the best he could do, on the topic of obstruction for example, was to say that he “couldn’t exonerate Trump”.

    Really? Did Trump’s threats and tantrums get you talking in that kind of timid, backward way?

    When you go to a restaurant, when they ask for your order, do you say “Well, I can’t completely say that I DON’T want a grill cheese sandwich”?

    (and then leave the waiter or waitress to GUESS as to whether you actually want one or not).

    And now he’s not wanting to testify before congress – great, thanks Bob, that’s real helpful of you.

    By not being willing to call obstruction obstruction, and conspiracy conspiracy, despite his own damning evidence, he has let Trump falsely claim he’s been cleared of all charges, and that it was all a ‘witch hunt’, despite all the actual detailed evidence that says LOTS of witches were found! (and many witches convicted by courts of crimes by the way).

    So yes, I think the democrats should get to impeachment if needed, but I think they are right to take at least a bit longer to try to get more evidence without taking that step.

    It would be much easier to go any route that they take if Mueller hadn’t wussed-out, but hey, his team DID gather a lot of damning evidence, and my guess is there’s more out there, and the Democrats should continue to try to find it.

    As to all the republican complaints about how this is taking too long, or it’s excessive – please remember this is the party that went after Hillary Clinton for almost 3 years (not that I’m a Hillary fan I’m NOT), and consumed thousands and thousands of staff hours, with a true “witch hunt”, that is, trying to blame her in whatever way possible, for the deaths of 3 diplomats at a dangerous diplomatic posting called Benghazi.

    That was a blatant political tar-and-feather attempt, as it was obvious they were just trying to pin the tail on the Hillary donkey, simply because she was a leading presidential prospect of the opposing party.

    While Benghazi was a tragic event for the families of the 3 diplomats obviously, compared to a hostile foreign power trying to destroy our democracy and swaying our presidential election it was a tiny fraction of the importance to the nation as a whole, and yet the republicans spent an enormous amount of congressional time trying to make political hay over that event.

    Yet, with the much, much more serious charge of a president being elected with the help of a hostile foreign power, and perhaps being under the influence of that power, that’s no big deal and it’s ‘case closed’, no more research needed, despite the fact that with his fuzzy, timid conclusions that it appears Mueller seemed to be leaving it to congress to interpret and decide what to do with his findings, in fact he said something to that effect in his report.

    What a double standard – all the time in the world to investigate an isolated incident like Bengazi, but it’s ‘case closed’ on our democracy being hacked, and oh by the way, our leader might be compromised, but who cares is the attitude I guess.

    I would think that any true patriot, democrat OR republican, after watching the shameful kowtowing at Helsinki, and his non-stop praise of Russia’s leader would be worried about a possible worrisome Russia connection, even if it weren’t for all of the evidence disclosed publicly (Trump tower meeting, etc) and evidence found in the Mueller report.

    Certainly, if Hillary Clinton had been elected, and she and her aides and family had said and done exactly what Trump has said and done, I think all republicans would have been screaming ‘treason’ for 2 years now, but when Trump does it, it’s nothing.

    That sort of makes it sound like a cult to me, where the cult leader can do literally anything and be given a free pass on it – things that if anyone else did they would judge harshly indeed.

  14. Submitted by David Moseman on 05/30/2019 - 11:10 am.

    True, Impeachment is mainly political. If the goal is to embarrass and possibly expose crimes then impeachment might work. If the goal is removal from office, then moves to impeach will not work until ALL Senators commit to vote their conscience and base it upon the evidence.

    An alternative strategy might be to defeat and prosecute. Defeating might include undermining sources of support both electoral and donations. Much has been written about why some voted for or against. Yet little has been written about the big money donors who own the elected officials. Is our current deep pocket donating system a form of bribery? Republicans donated thru blinded PACs and Democrat thru the DNC. Find out who funded the candidate and Divest from any stock or bonds; then boycott their products; finally work for candidates who would better represent your needs.

  15. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/24/2019 - 09:07 pm.

    How do you count nonevents (things that don’t happen).
    Just the range of the numbers (500,000 to 3,500,000) is an indication of their unreliability.

  16. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/26/2019 - 08:50 pm.

    The original post on the self defense benefits of gun ownership seems to have vanished.
    The basic point was made by John Lott. Wikipedia as usual has a good summary of his points, and the many publications debunking it.

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